This study will be conducted with 31 vocational colleges in Hanoi and in the neighboring Bac Ninh province in Vietnam, each of which offers multiple majors (disciplines). The level of observation is students enrolled in the final year in these colleges. The interventions will be randomized at the college-major level. We will stratify on major cohort size (in bins) and college.
Each college-major will be randomly assigned to one of the following four treatment arms: soft skills training (treatment 1); career counseling (treatment 2); soft skills training and career counseling (treatment 3); and neither soft skills training nor career counseling (control). To maximize take-up of the services, both the soft skills training and the career counseling services will be offered free of charge. Both interventions will be provided by well-known private companies with long-standing experience in these sectors in Vietnam.
We will collect two sets of data after the interventions. First, at the time of graduation, we will collect administrative data from colleges on outcomes such as whether the student graduated on time, secured a job at the time of graduation, the time taken to find a job, and job characteristics such as the starting wage, terms of the contract, and alignment of the job with the vocational training. Second, we will survey students nine months after graduation to gather information on employment, job retention, wage, job satisfaction, socioemotional skills, and career aspirations. Focus groups and open-ended survey questions at the time of the follow-up will help understand the channels through which the interventions worked.